Afghanistan set another record with T20 series win over Zimbabwe
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan -- an associate nation -- created another international record by humiliating Zimbabwe in the second T20 match and clinching the series 2-0 at the Queen’s Sports Club in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
Usman Ghani and Gulbadin Naib, scoring 65 and 56 (unbeaten) runs respectively, powered the national squad to a spectacular five-wicket triumph over the beleaguered hosts in the second T20 duel.
Afghanistan Cricket Board spokesman Farid Hotak told Pajhwok Afghan News Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat first. They got off to a shaky start when Dawlat Zadran bowled opener Chamu Chibhabha on the second ball.
However, Sean Williams smashed a brilliant 54 from 26 balls with the help of eight boundaries and two sixes. He was lent solid support by Richmond Mutumbami, who hit 43 off 33 balls.
Williams showed no mercy to spinners, mauling Rashid Khan for 19 runs in first over, including two reverse sweeps and a massive six over deep midwicket. Karim Sadiq was also meted out some harsh treatment as Williams raced to his fifty from 21 deliveries.
For Afghanistan, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib and Amir Hamza took two wickets each while Rashid Khan captured one, said Hotak, praising Osman Ghani and Shahzad Mohammad for their outstanding batting.
While chasing the target, Afghanistan reached 190 for the loss of seven wickets, with one delivery to spare. Exhibiting guts and grit, Ghani scored his first T20 fifty.
Following his departure, Naib also rushed his way to his maiden T20 half-century, hitting three boundaries in Neville Madziva's first over and a four the next. It was followed by three massive sixes, two of them straight down the ground.
He faced 32 balls to bring up his fifty in the eighth over. When the chips were down for the tourists needing 58 from 30 balls, Naib came to the crease and played a responsible knock, the ACB spokesman said.
But two wickets in two balls in the 11th over - Ghani and Mohammad Shahzad (24) falling to Chibhabha (2-37) - threatened to derail the visitors’ chase. The Afghans need 23 from the last two overs and nine from the last six balls.
Shafiqullah struck the decisive blow on his third delivery, sweeping past short fine leg. Then he handed the strike over to Naib, who scored the winning runs, with one ball to spare.
Wednesday’s victory follows a six-wicket win in the first T20 on Monday, and caps a historic tour for Afghanistan, which emerged the first to beat a full ICC member in the ODI and T20 series.
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